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[personal profile] callmeonetrack
Fic: Aftermath
Pairing: Kara/Lee
Rating: NC-17
Length: 2686 words
Summary/Prompt: After Zak dies... (Not sure where this came from....maybe N_T? maybe here when I was asking for prompts?)

Numb, Lee sits on his sofa and looks at the clock again. It's 8:15 on a Wednesday night and the fifth time he's checked in the past 15 minutes. He should just turn in early, try to sleep. He'll need it tomorrow when his mother and father are in the same room for the first time since...he can't remember.

In the morning, he's going to get up and put on the uniform he hasn't worn since his last Reserves duty weekend and go to the cemetary to bury his little brother.

The thought alone pins him to the couch like an anchor. He rubs a hand over his dry and swollen eyes and pours another tumbler of whiskey. Lee takes a long pull from the glass, and his gaze skips to the door and then to the clock again.

She's not coming.

He wonders how many flavors of frakked up it makes him for even hoping. Lee can't help it though--it's pure habit now. Kara's been meeting him at his apartment every Wednesday for the past four months. Zak has--had, he thinks, heart clenching--a weekly tactical class starting at 0800.

This is stupid and wrong. He should just try to sleep.  Lee downs the rest of his drink in one straight shot, stands and is almost at the kitchen when he hears the knock.

He can’t believe it; he turns and stares at the door, frozen. The knocking gets louder, almost a banging, before it suddenly stops. And then Lee lurches forward, the empty glass still clutched in his hand. Six long steps and he tosses it to the carpet, wrenches the knob and pulls the door open wide, but she's already moving away, halfway down the hall.

"Kara!" His cry is loud and strangled with panic, but she turns. Under the hallway’s fluorescent lighting, Kara’s face is deathly white, the red rimming her eyes making her pupils look very green. For a second, they both just stand there staring. Fear that she'll come to her senses and leave wins out though, and Lee takes another hopeful, hesitant step forward but then Kara's moving too, fast strides, nearly stumbling as she launches herself into his arms.

Relief and guilt pull at him, but, mostly, Lee feels so very grateful he can hardly breathe. He pulls Kara tightly to him, greedy for the contact, and buries his face in the crook of her neck. Her fingers dig into his back just sharp enough to hurt, but he savors the pain. Since he got the call this morning, his mother sobbing almost too hard for him to make out the awful news, Lee’s barely been able to think of anything except this moment, when he would see Kara. It’s twisted, but she’s the only person who could possibly understand. Not just the grief, but the guilt.

Lee straightens and reaches up, hand smoothing her hair back, but Kara leans in, pressing her forehead to his. “I know this is—“ she sucks in a hard breath, “I shouldn’t—“ her voice breaks on a swallowed sob and she pulls Lee tighter to her, presses her mouth to his and whispers against his lips, “But I had to see you.”

Her whole body shudders in his arms, as she lets out a breath, warm air ghosting over his lips. Lee feels the same relief, and gathers her closer into a tight hug. His fingers thread through her hair, cradling her head against his shoulder. “I was waiting for you.”

“I just—I can’t believe he’s gone,” she murmurs against him.

“I know. Neither can I.”  He hears her sniff and her chest swells against his, breath hitching. Lee feels a tickling sensation against his collarbone. She’s crying. It stuns him for a second, only because he’s never seen Kara cry and Lee feels tears prick once more at his own eyes. He blinks them away to find, Kara staring solemnly at him, silvery tracks on her cheeks and a look he can’t read in her eyes.

“Lee,” she says after a few seconds, and there’s something in her tone that sends an icy shiver down his spine. “We should talk,” she says, and Kara takes a step back, pulling away from him until they aren’t touching at all. She folds her arms across her middle and her teeth worry her lower lip. Her eyes lower to his chest and she stares as she speaks, “I picked up the phone a hundred times today to call you. I- I should’ve told you before, but I just…“ Lee watches the quiver of her throat, dread churning in his stomach, as her eyes finally, hesitantly skip up to his. “I have to tell you that I—“

No.” He says it with force and Kara’s eyes widen, but she stops talking. “Just...don’t, Ok? I know what you’re going to say.”

Her brow creases. “You do?”

He does. Of course, he does. She’s going to say this has to stop. That they can’t do this anymore, because it was awful before when Zak just didn’t know, but now that he never will, it’s somehow worse. But he’s weak. Lee can’t—he knows he can’t get through this without her—and he can’t even begin to think about what happens after tomorrow. When his brother will still be gone but life will go on, everyone, even them, will pretend to go back to normal. Except nothing between them has ever been normal and now he has no idea how it ever could be.

Lee knows he’s going to lose Kara, too. He knows it.

But he’s not ready.

He rubs a hand over his unshaven cheeks, shaking his head. “Maybe this makes me the most selfish bastard in the universe. But I can’t, I just, I can’t tonight, Kara. After tomorrow, we can, we will talk. I promise,” He reaches out for her again, squeezing her shoulders and stepping in close.
“But right now I just really….” Lee’s talking faster and faster, rambling in his desperation. He is aware he’s on the verge of begging and completely unashamed. He’d gladly drop to his knees if it would convince her to stay. Lee presses his lips to Kara’s forehead, and murmurs into her skin, “Please, I just need you tonight. Please.”

She is quiet, unmoving, for what feels like forever, and then she whispers, “Okay,” her arms lifting and winding around his neck.

Relief fills him and Lee exhales, his shoulders relaxing as he pulls Kara tightly to him once more. She sags into him, all the resistance leaving her body, her breath hitching still against his throat. Kara shivers, pressing her face into the space under his jaw.

Closer, he thinks. He just, he needs to be closer to her. On impulse, Lee bends, sweeping an arm under Kara’s knees, and picks her up, cradling her body against his chest. She makes a noise of surprise, but holds on to him, and presses her lips to his jaw. She reaches up, hands cupping his cheeks and tugging his face down, so she can kiss him hard on the mouth.
He kisses her back possesively, his lips and tongue claiming Kara’s. The rush of sensation overtakes him, and his brain blissfully, finally shuts down.

Lee carefully makes his way down the narrow hallway to his bedroom, and it occurs to him suddenly as he steps over the threshold and walks to the bed, lowering Kara onto it, that it shouldn’t be him in this scenario. Zak had planned to do this with Kara; he’d wanted to marry her. They were nearly the last words his brother had said to him. He’d called Lee from the hangar deck yesterday, just minutes before his final checkride, bursting with pride and happiness and hope for the future. For a moment, Lee is selfishly, viciously, unthinkingly glad that Zak didn’t get the chance. And then a fresh wave of shame and self-awareness course through him, and Lee shuts his eyes and hangs his head, the pain so intense suddenly that he can hardly breathe.

Than Kara’s hands are on his face, cradling his jaw, her thumbs wiping his own tears from his cheekbones. She’s whispering a stream of soft syllables, words of comfort, ones he’s never heard from her before. They’ve exchanged joking, teasing banter over card tables and pyramid courts, argued politics or the best way to win a dogfight at the bar, traded darker, private confessions always out of Zak’s earshot. But not here. Their times together have always been physical and intense, fueled by a desperate hunger, lips and tongues busy claiming not conversing. Tonight, this...this is entirely different. He tries not to think about why as they slide off their clothing with shaking hands, bodies rocking together.

Perhaps it’s just perception and imagination that Kara is softer against him, but when she rolls onto her side to face him, her eyes gleam with moisture as they lock onto his. Her touch seems more gentle than he’s accustomed to as she reaches between their bodies, fingers encircling him and stroking with long caresses. Lee dips his head, kissing her neck, his tongue tracing random deisgns on her throat. Kara nestles closer and slides her thigh over his hip, and Lee’s hand drifts down her stomach, between her legs. She’s slick already, and Kara moans quietly as he parts her folds with his fingers. The position is unfamiliar and awkward at first, but Lee shifts, angling his body until his erection is nudging her entrance. Their faces are breaths apart now, and Kara’s eyes lock onto his. She whispers his name and Lee’s breath catches. He grasps her knee, hitching her leg higher against him, and pushes inside her with one steady thrust. The tears in her eyes spill over but she doesn’t seem to notice or care. Kara reaches for his face again, hands cupping his cheeks as she pulls his mouth onto hers.

The universe narrows to the points where their bodies align. He cradles Kara to him, with one hand splayed on her lower back, the other stroking methodically up and down her thigh. He rocks into her again and again, his hips pushing tightly to hers, her gaze burning into his. Looking into Kara’s eyes as their bodies connect again and again is powerful and intimate, and Lee is blissful and lost.

He pulls her closer still, buries his face in her hair and can’t hold back. Lee gasps her name, but he’s already thrusting deep, release coming in waves of unfettered pleasure.

When he comes back to himself, Kara’s watching him with still-sharp eyes and he realizes she didn’t climax. He reaches down, fingers brushing between her legs. But she pulls his hand away, shaking her head. “It’s good. I’m good.” and wraps her arms around his shoulders, rolling on to her back and pulling him on top of her. Lee burrows his head against her chest, between her breasts, his face pressed to her skin. Her fingers slide through his hair, rubbing his scalp. He is wrung out, exhausted, and his only thought is how much he loves Kara and how he can’t bear to lose her too. “Stay with me,” he murmurs into her skin.

Kara stiffens a little, and he raises up on one elbow, traces the side of her face with his fingers. Her eyes are wide and wary. She always leaves him as soon as they’re done, needing to get back to.... needing to get back.

Now she doesn’t.

“Kara, please, just...” he swallows hard. “Tonight...can you stay?”

Her brow furrows and her voice is low and hoarse as she asks, “Are you sure that’s what you want, Lee?”

It’s not what he wants. It’s what he needs. He needs her with him tonight.

He wants her to stay forever.

His voice is husky with emotion too, when he says, “Yeah, it’s what I want.” He knows though that he shouldn’t and Lee has to look down, away from her eyes, as he admits the secret he’d been carrying.

“He called me yesterday morning.” Lee’s jaw tightens and he winces. “Zak- he wanted to marry you, Kara. He was thinking of proposing.”

“What? But we weren’t even...” she lets out a shuddering sigh, her head shaking. “Things hadn’t been good for a while. Obviously.”

Lee takes small perverse comfort in that. He’d never asked Kara to make a choice, too afraid of what she might choose. He’d been selfish and a coward, under pretense of protecting his brother. But the fact that she was here tonight, the way she was here, gave him hope, and hope made him brave.

He takes a breath. “Would you have said yes?”

Kara’s face twists, and her eyes flutter shut. “I love--,” she says, voice shaking and starts again,  “loved Zak.” Lee feels like he’s been kicked in the gut and hates himself for it. “I did--do.” She sighs and her eyes, pained and anxious, open to his. “But...after I heard? The first thought--” Kara pauses and shudders. “The very first frakking  thought I had...” she makes a high, strangled noise, and Lee strokes the soft skin of her cheek. Kara’s eyes lock on his and she lifts a hand to cover his, stilling his fingers, as her voice drops to a whisper, “...was to thank the gods it wasn’t you.”

Lee’s heart swells and he swallows hard.

“I love you, Lee.”

He didn’t know it was possible to be full of such joy and such sadness at once. Lee leans in close, kisses the top of her head and her temple. He breathes into Kara’s hair, kisses her cheeks and eyelids and nose and finally, finally captures her lips. The moment is long and full of bittersweet promise.

“I should’ve told you that before,” Kara says softly, her face full of regret. “And...I should’ve told Zak.”  

Lee shakes his head. “I’m his brother and I’m supposed to protect him. And instead, ever since we’ve met, I’ve betrayed him, again and again in a thousand different ways...” He sniffs, choking back tears, realizing he’s still using the present tense. He cringes.  “I was a terrible brother. I know that. And the worst part, is that, now it’s just-- over. It’s too late. There is nothing, not a thing I can do to fix it, to make it up to him, to do better.”

He takes a deep breath and finally looks back into Kara’s face. “But I don’t--I can’t regret being with you,”  Lee’s voice cracks, as the emotions finally get the best of him. “I love you, Kara Thrace. And I can’t lose you too.”

“You won’t,” Kara hugs him, and they lay quietly tangled together. The knowledge that Kara loves him too, wants to stay with him, is almost overwhelming. Lee hadn’t even dared to hope she felt the same and now his head is dizzy, racing with possibilities, plans. This makes things more complicated.

Kara must be considering them too, because she clears her throat, and turns wide, anxious eyes on him, suddenly, “What are we gonna do?”

Zak might be gone but there are still people who would be hurt, who would disapprove, who would not understand if they were suddenly together. His family, her friends and coworkers on the base. Lee thinks and plots, not liking the idea of hiding his feelings for this woman, the love of his life, one minute more. He’s thoroughly, utterly sick of secrets and lies, and wonders how they might make a fresh start, get a clean slate. But they’re adults, with jobs and rent and full lives. There are no good answers, no magic solutions.

Lee reaches over and smoothes back Kara’s hair. It’ll be messy and difficult, no matter what they choose. But, he also knows, it’ll be worth fighting for.

For the millionth time since Kara Thrace entered his life, he wishes futilely that he’d met her first.

For the first time since his brother left it, Lee Adama smiles, numb no more.

"Whatever it takes, Kara."

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January 2015

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